Website visibility is commonly measured by the placement — or ranking — of the site on search engine results pages (SERPs). And companies always vie for the first page, where they are most likely to garner the most attention.
Using Google as an example, SERPs often feature ads at the top of the page. These are positions that businesses are willing to pay for to ensure placement on that first page. Following ads are the regular search listings, which marketers and search engines refer to as organic search results. The SEO process aims to increase a business’s organic search results, driving organic search traffic to the site. This enables data marketers to distinguish between traffic that comes to a website from other channels — such as paid search, social media, referrals and direct — and the organic search traffic.
Organic search traffic is usually higher-quality traffic because users are actively searching for a specific topic, product or service for which a site might rank. If a user finds that site through the search engine, it can lead to better brand engagement.
How does SEO work?
While there is a way to maximize results, it is almost impossible to fully manipulate search algorithms. Businesses often look to the shortest path toward ideal results with the least amount of effort, but SEO requires a lot of action and time. There is no SEO strategy where something can be changed today with the expectation of clear results tomorrow. SEO is a long-term project, with daily action and constant activity.
Search engines use bots to crawl all website pages, downloading and storing that information into a collection known as an index. This index is like a library and when someone searches for something in it, the search engine acts as the librarian. The search engine pulls and displays relevant information from the search query and shows users content related to what they were looking for. Search engine algorithms analyze webpages in the index to determine the order those pages should be displayed on the SERP.